Sunday, February 17, 2008

¡Tortilla Española con Salsa Romesco!

As anyone who's well acquainted with me can tell you, I loves me some spanish food! But I rarely make anything spanish at home. Oh sure, when I've got visitors coming in from the midwest, I might break out paella on the grill or some such, but when all is said and done, spanish cuisine is a rarity here at casa del Belmont. So tonight I busted out of the mold and took on that most classic of Iberian staples, Tortilla. But first, an interjection: for those not familiar with spanish food, this is an entirely different animal from the famous flatbread of mexican cuisine. This tortilla is an egg and potato based concoction, and has much in common with quiche and fritatta. Now, where was I... I've had this dish at two of Portland's better spanish restaurants, Pata Negra and Toro Bravo. And I've gotta tell ya, I think my version holds its own against both Seguro's and Gorham's. Not that I'm taking any credit for it, mind you. The tortilla is based on a recipe by María de los Angeles Rodri‭guez Artacho, co-owner of Bar Jordi (which, near as I can google, is a restaurant in Mallorca), while the romesco is an adaptation of a recipe from Gourmet's 2005 files (both via If I remember correctly, it was a spaniard -Pablo Picasso, I believe- who said that bad artists copy while good artists steal. Well, I steal from the best. But don't take my word for it, try this yourself. First up, the romesco:

1 large tomato, cored
1 dried ancho chile
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons hazelnuts, toasted, skins rubbed off and chopped
2 tablespoons blanched almonds, chopped
1 (1/2-inch-thick) slice firm white bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 cup pimientos, rinsed
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

In a 400F oven, roast tomato in a foil lined baking dish until tender and skin peels off easily, about 30 minutes.

While tomato is roasting, slit chile open lengthwise, discard stem and seeds, and chop it into small pieces. Heat oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then add chile and cook, stirring, until fragrant and chile turns a brighter red, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer chile with a slotted spoon to a large heatproof bowl. Add hazelnuts to skillet along with almonds, bread, garlic, and smoked paprika and cook, stirring, until bread and garlic are golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Add mixture (including oil) to chile in bowl and cool slightly.

Once the tomato is done roasting, peel, roughly chop and transfer it to a food processor. Add bread and chile mixture, pimientos, water, vinegar, and salt and purée until smooth. Alternately, you can add the tomato, pimientos, water, vinegar, and salt to the bowl containing the chile/bread mixture, and hit it with a stick blender, adding olive oil to thin as necessary:

Once the romesco is done, set it aside, wipe out the skillet, and begin work on the torilla itself:

1 1/2 cups oil (I used half extra virgin olive and half saffflower)
2 lbs boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 large yellow onions, chopped
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
9 large eggs

Place potatoes, with cold water to cover, in a large sauce pan, bring to a boil and cook for ten minutes. Strain potatoes and set aside. Heat oil in a 12-inch sautee pan over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and add potatoes, onion, and half of salt. Cook over moderately low heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until onions and potatoes are tender but not colored, about 30 minutes, adding garlic about halfway through. Strain over a bowl and cool 5 minutes. Lightly beat eggs in a large bowl, and add chopped parsley. Gently stir in potatoes, onions and garlic with 1 tablespoon oil, the rest of the salt, and pepper to taste. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in skillet and add mixture, pressing potatoes flush with eggs. Cook over low heat, covered, 20 to 25 minutes, or until just set. It should look like this:

Turn off heat and let stand, covered, 20 minutes. Cut into slices and plate, sauce with reheated romesco (it microwaves quite nicely), and enjoy.


Anonymous said...

The tortilla looks yummy, but I'm not sure if I'd like the romesco. you know me and chilis! How long does it take to prepare the entire dish? LGS

The Guilty Carnivore said...

Romesco is on my list of sauces to make, especially after some stellar meals at Toro Bravo. Thx for the nudge - looks awesome.

tommy said...

You'd probably like the romesco more than you think. Despite the ancho chile, it's not very spicy at all.
Romesco is stupid easy, especially with the stick blender. Go for it!